Archive for September, 2011


Sep 10 2011 Published by under Life

2 years ago, I came to the place that I’d never dreamt going: Europe. As I was sitting in the transit area in Taoyuan Airport, I realize that I’ve been keeping an unspoken, subconscious dream, a dream formed merely on society’s expectation: The America Dream (dream of going to America)

For those friends who are kept out of the loop, I’m sorry I didn’t inform you earlier. I’m going on a 3-month software engineering internship with Facebook. It will start next Monday and ends in early December.

I’m now in San Jose, California. The weather is perfect, no rain, breezy and slightly cold in the morning and remains enjoyably cool throughout the day. The living condition here is good, as good as Europe so far (though public transportation sucks a little – but people mostly drive cars). That, plus the vibrant hi-tech community of SF Bay Area, I think if a foreign student doesn’t have a strong conviction to come back to serve his/her country, s/he will easily decides to stay here for good.

There are so many things/events going on around here, that if you don’t have a clue of what you want (or seems to want), you might easily get confused, and tempting to go to all of them.

Working for a big company has its perks, especially when one with big cool company (like Facebook). As I observed through the paramount benefits that Facebook gives its employees these days, I’m impressed and think Facebook has every extrinsic motivation covered to retain its people. From free lunch, free corporate apartment, free company shuttle bus, high salary, to unconstraint working hours and its constant stream of outdoor activities. For intrinsic reason, we will see when work starts.

But with the sort of emotions and feeling I’ve been going through the last few days (being a Facebook intern), I feel humbled to be reminded of one lesson: Never let the brand define you.

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The Game of Life

Sep 02 2011 Published by under Life

(and what I learnt about life from playing Chinese Chess in High-school)

I used to play Chinese Chess (Xiangqi). In fact, I was very good at it, Bronze Medal (Individual Category) in Vietname Youth Chinese Chess Competition, Gold Medal (Team Category) that same year, and a countless medals city-level. I’m saying this not to brag. It simply means this: I enjoy challenging, heads-on games, like Chinese Chess.

But never did I relate this game to a broader game: the game of life.

The game of life is an interesting game, it’s similar yet different from all games I’ve ever played. A game is a simple concept: a scenario, a set of rules and a limited resources you’re given at hand. How different is this from your life?

The game of life appreciates and favors those who understand the rules. But unlike other games, in the game of life, the rules are vast, vague and left for players to find out. And rules have a new name in the game of life: wisdom.

And in the process of studying the rules, you acquire something intermediary, something that gives you an advantageous edge over your opponents: knowledge.

Unlike the game of chess (in which each game consists of 60 moves on average), the game of life is an enduring game, an 80-year long game. If you make one wrong move, no matter how bad it is, there is always a fix that works.

Instead of thinking about the mistake, what is your next move?

In the game of chess, 1 single move (no matter how smart) can’t help you win, it is a series of right and incremental moves that leads to victory.

In the game of life, the same thing applies. Don’t bet too much on a single decision. Bet on the ones following. So when I heard someone telling his story and conclude: “That was the single-most important decision in my life”, I know there’s much more to that.


There’s a saying: “Happiness is a journey, not a process”. By thinking life as a game, I grasp this concept much better. I constantly remind myself about the game of life when I get into tough situations, accepting the moves I’ve made, and start to think of the next move.


Treat life as a game, and see how good a player you could be?

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